Fran Hilton-Smith explains SAFA’s hunt for Banyana coach

By Sizakele Nkosi

The South African Women National Team last had a permanent head coach – Vera Pauw – last August during the 2016 Rio Olympics. After the departure of Pauw, two former Banyana Banyana players Desiree Ellis and Maude Khumalo were appointed on an interim basis.

The pair led the Sasol sponsored team to fourth position at the 2016 African Women Cup of Nations in Cameroon and will now lead Banyana to the COSAFA Women’s Championship from 13 to 24 September 2017 in Zimbabwe.

Currently at SAFA house, all women’s national teams do not have permanent head coaches; this includes the senior team, under 17 and under 20.

SAFA Technical Director Fran Hilton-Smith said: “they have appointed a sub-committee to look at the candidates that they feel are suitable and I think they are nearly finished with that process. They first want to finalize Banyana and then the under 17 and 20 teams.”

Fran further revealed that they have received applicants from coaches around the continent and Europe. And one of the mandates for the future coach is qualifying Banyana Banyana to their first Women’s World Cup Tournament.

The Technical Director explained why Banyana have not played any friendly matches to prepare for COSAFA and the difficulties in finding teams on the continent or in Europe.

“It’s very difficult. Countries are not really active and the department has been trying and certainly it has not been easy. It’s very difficult to get European teams to come here because of the cost factor. When they can go play Germany, Sweden and Norway is a plane trip away.”

Regarding the number of candidates SAFA is looking into and when the new coach is expected to be announced, Fran responded: “I’m hoping it will be done in the next week. I’m hoping it will be soon. Last time I spoke to Dr Danny Jordaan, he spoke about 4 candidates,” concluded Fran.

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